Though owning a slice of Australian history is something few are lucky enough to have, it does come with a few restrictions that can make renovating difficult. In today’s blog, we look at what you should know before renovating a heritage house, and the things you can and can’t do with heritage house renovations.
What you should know before conducting heritage house renovations
Before you commence any work, it’s important to see if there are any council restrictions on your property. You can do this by checking a City Plan Heritage Register to see if your property is heritage listed and whether it can be redeveloped or demolished. If your property is heritage listed, you’ll need to submit detailed plans and reports if you plan on renovating your home. The extent of these restrictions varies from one council to the next but typically focuses on major renovations such as adding extensions or a lift and build under. Minor alterations such as replacing guttering or repainting a fence will likely not require council approval but it’s always worth double checking.
Inspect your home
When it comes to renovating a heritage house, forging ahead without conducting a proper inspection can end up causing unexpected problems with unexpected costs. You’ll want to know exactly what you’re getting into prior to commencing a renovation project, as a poor foundation or termite damage can quickly snowball into bigger problems once a renovation is underway. Getting a building inspector to assess the house prior to commencing a renovation project can discern what parts need replacing and whether the foundation is strong enough to bear any structural changes.
Work with experienced builders
Heritage house renovations involve a different set of skills and experience than a modern build, as a builder must be well versed in accurately replicating old building features. An experienced builder will not only know how to properly preserve a heritage home’s features but will also ensure that new renovations blend seamlessly with the older structure of the home.
Heritage house rules: Things you can do with heritage house renovations
Upgrade the kitchen or bathroom
At some point, an old home will require an extensive bathroom or kitchen renovation as they’re the first rooms to become outdated. In addition to aesthetics, kitchens and bathrooms are also subject to high traffic use which makes them susceptible to wear and tear. Checking in with your council will allow you to see if a new kitchen must be created with the original style in mind, or if you’re free to completely modernise the space.
Repairs and preserving details
As long as your repairs don’t interfere with the integrity of the home, you should be able to make repairs such as updating ceilings and wooden floors or installing modern lights. If an original feature has experienced breakage or rotted due to wear and tear i.e., a window, you’ll likely need to replace it with a close replica to preserve the character of the home.
Make it livable
Updating utilities such as wiring and plumbing or installing modern-day necessities like air conditioning are completely fine if the original fixtures are still in place.
Heritage house rules: Things you can’t do with heritage house renovations
Alter the structure
Though you may be able to make some alterations to the back rooms of your house, the first few rooms must retain their original structure – however, these rules can differ with councils. Even simple fixtures such as doorknobs or windows can’t be entirely altered, as a heritage homeowner will be tasked with finding a suitable replica to respect the architectural history of the home.
Change the exterior
Unless the facade of your home needs maintenance or repairs, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to change it. Even something as simple as repainting the exterior will require a close to exact match of the original paint, though you may have more freedom with the back of the house.
Need help renovating your heritage home?
When it comes to renovating a heritage home, it’s incredibly important to work with reputable builders who have experience working on old properties. Choosing the wrong kind of builder can not only end up costing you more in the long run, but it could also cause irreparable damage to your property. At Renovare, we’re passionate about restoring and adding tasteful extensions to beautiful old homes. Contact us to arrange an inspection with one of our builders and get started on your home restoration today.
Contact the Renovare Home renovation builders Brisbane team to get started on your heritage home renovation dreams today. You can contact us online or call us on 1300 049 516 to chat your nearest Renovare team today.
Interested in viewing some our recent renovation projects? Be sure to visit Adam, our Renovare builders Mt Gravatt franchise or Dave from the home renovations Coorparoo franchise for a just a small sampling of some or our most recently completed projects and get started today by getting in touch with your nearest Renovare location.